We were going to clean up the living room and take down the tree today. We got the living room mostly clear when we said to each other, “You know what? The living room can wait, and the tree can stay up. Let’s go to the mall.”

Since Namine has been earning an allowance, and she has her own purse and wallet, we told her she could ride the train if she paid for it herself. Little Miss Independence was thrilled to be able to pay her own way.

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After the train ride, we both got suckers. Namine sucked on hers for a while, but opted to throw the rest away. (This particular fact is crucial to understanding what happened later.)

Later on this evening, we went to Wal-Mart to return a kitchen caddy we received for Christmas. (We have three of them, I don’t think we need another.) We decided to get some stuff for Namine with the store credit, including some new notebooks. We only had so much store credit from the caddy, however, so Namine had to make some choices.

One of the things Namine picked out was a small notebook. On the stand were Doc McStuffins, Sophia the First (both Disney shows that Namine loves), and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Namine has recently acquired a great love for the Turtles (in no small part thanks to me, I suspect), but I didn’t expect her to pick the Turtles notebook over either of the Disney ones. She surprised me. (That’s pretty much the story of my life for the past five years, to be honest.)

So anyway, we were walking around Wal-Mart, and suddenly I remembered my sucker, which was still in my pocket. Thrilled at rediscovering this instant candy, I unwrapped it and stuck it in my mouth. That got Namine’s attention.

“Ooh, can I have that?”

I said, “No, you threw yours away. But we could get one for you before we checkout.” We counted up everything in the cart. “You can get a sucker, but you have to put the Ninja Turtles notebook back.”

Namine thought about it. “I think I’ll keep the Ninja Turtle notebook.”

Jessica and I looked at each other in surprise. If you had asked me, I would have said she’d go for the sucker, no question about it. Jessica said to her, “You know that means you won’t get a sucker, right?”

Namine said, knowing exactly what she wanted, “I know that. Ninja Turtles are more important to me than a sucker.”

Husband. Daddy. Programmer. Artist. I’m not an expert, I just play one in real life.